Sunday, January 10, 2010

What came before...

Going through my RPG horde I found the following Apocalypse RPG's:

Gamma World (1st,2nd,d20)
Car Wars
Aftermath!
Morrow Project
After the Bomb

Gamma World was the first one we ever played, and its mixture of mutant animals, mutant plants, and mutant humans was a hodgepodge of science fantasy. Great if you like that over the top sort of gaming, but it never quite satisfied us.

Car Wars was (and still is) one of my all time favorite Post-Apoc games. Yes it is a bit of a crunchy war game, but when combined with the AADA region guides, you actually have a hell of an RPG setting. Characters (as they were) were simple constructs. Driving around Mad Max style and getting into all sorts of trouble was a blast. Sure it focused mainly on the wheels, but we played for quite some time borrowing from other RPG's to flesh out the non-wheeled parts of the game. You can get an updated pdf collecting all of the various vehicle types and rules in one book from SJG. Hopefully the AADA guides get combined as well.

Aftermath! was our next purchase. The print ads in Dragon Magazine showing a Road Warrior-esque Mel Gibson character was a slam dunk. I could (and still can) quote most of that movie. This was an astounding $25 back in the day (when other boxed games were $12)and so it was a holy grail of gaming for me. Eventually I purchased it...and was overwhelmed. Buried in 3 different manuals was a game, but one so convoluted and overly detailed that we ended up not playing it much. It suffered from gun-porn rules.

Gun Porn: Top Secret was the first game I played that had this odd affliction. By gun porn means a fetishistic rules creation with trying to accurately (obsessively) model the physical power of a specific gun, ammo round, and environment as well as the shooters individual disposition when firing. Top Secret was the first time I saw this, and Aftermath! took this Soldier of Fiction obsession to a whole new level.

Well, that is until I got the Morrow Project. Somewhere between a survival manual, and a Soldier of Fiction book with rules in it came the Morrow Project. While I liked the ideas behind trying to help rebuild civilization, and the gritty manner the world is presented, some of it seemed odd or out of place. Your team wakes up 100+ years later and it always seemed like it might have only been 2 weeks. 80's military hardware is still rolling around everywhere, everyone is armed (heavily) with modern guns and explosives. It just never rang true as a 100+ years after the bomb setting. Its rules were also a bit too simulation/ gun porn focused. When your modules talk about giving you blue prints for military vehicles as a highlight? That screams GUN PORN baby!

After the Bomb from Palladium was an offshoot of their TMNT system. Say what you will regarding the Palladium system, I very much enjoyed the ideas and presentation of TMNT. After the Bomb was simply setting the TMNT mutant stuff into a post apocalypse setting. Nothing fancy, it all worked and was sort of a Gamma World update in my mind. Different spin on the same genre idea. In fact I'd even say After the bomb/TMNT trumped Gamma World with its Road Hogs books. It sort of Mashed up TMNT and Car Wars into an RPG.

Good memories and lots of fun, but at this stage in my life I am looking for rules lite fast playing fun.  That's what I am working on providing other time crunched RPG fans.  More gaming, less rules grinding.
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